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Compensation for unfair dismissal

The effect of the statutory cap of 6 months’ remuneration or one half of the high income threshold for compensation for unfair dismissal claims in the Fair Work Commission is illustrated by the decision in Colson v Barwon Health, which can be found at this link

Dr Colson was successful in bringing an unfair dismissal case before the Commission after being dismissed by Barwon Health but the Commission determined that reinstatement was inappropriate.
The Commission assessed the financial loss suffered by Dr Colson to be $431,173 but because of s.393(5) could not award compensation of more than $59,050 which was the lesser of 6 months’ remuneration or one half of the high income threshold.
It is difficult to fathom whether this arbitrary and notional limit on compensation owes itself to a distrust of the competence of the Fair Work Commission members to fairly assess compensation, which in my view would be totally misplaced, or whether it is a concession to political bargaining. Either way, it is tokenism.

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